Prospects’ preferences are changing. So, it makes sense that property technology, such as real estate virtual tour software, evolves alongside it. In the past, three or so years, with considerable acceleration in the last 18 months, real estate virtual tour software continues to change and adapt to what today’s prospects need and want. Let’s take a look at:
- How the virtual tour software world has changed
- Why those changes were needed
- How virtual tour software is evolving now
Multifamily Marketing in the Early Days
In the early days, there weren’t many search results for online real estate searches. There weren’t many guides for how to make a virtual tour for real estate. There certainly weren’t many options in the virtual tour software for the multifamily real estate market. Most of the virtual tours for real estate consisted of still photographs. Those photos were then animated or somehow pieced together in a video with some music added in the background. Sometimes there were captions or other written details on the video as well. And that was it.
If you wanted to see the closet, the photo collage most likely didn’t show it. Or if you wanted to see the countertops in your exact unit, well, unless you were touring in person, you were out of luck. Ultimately, this method wasn’t all that effective beyond getting a prospect interested. It lacked authenticity and realness. With the photoshopped and highly produced quality, prospects may have an unexpected and unwelcome surprise or two on the move-in day.
What if those countertops weren’t at all what they appeared to be like in person due to poor online marketing? Not a good experience. However, what it did do was encourage the industry to get better at marketing online and provide a virtual tour option that gave prospects more to see and decide on.
Multifamily Marketing Evolving
So, what came next in that evolution? Some communities started shooting and posting their own videos. Much of that involved a professional crew coming in and filming a community overview video. These were often highly produced pieces with a lot of professional lighting and photoshopped tweaks – or more than tweaks. Now, for those who have seen real estate virtual tour pricing for videos like these, they aren’t cheap. And if you have updates or any changes, they aren’t easy to quickly reproduce.
Another evolution for real estate virtual tour software was the move to 360 and 3D virtual tours. These virtual tour creators allowed for a little more flexibility but are also a one-size-fits-all type of virtual tour.
These types of tours usually involve special equipment or a film crew to pull the full video piece together. Even if they are able to create 360 or 3D virtual tours for real estate for each and every floor plan in a community, which VERY resources heavy, they are still usually renditions. It isn’t the exact unit. And, similar to the professional videos from above, they are stagnant and can’t quickly change or alter with changes or updates. Not to mention all of these above styles still lacked a certain realness, authenticity, and personalization today’s prospective residents want.
As we’ve mentioned before, these types of tours are still very popular and are great as a top-of-funnel marketing tool. But, they can’t be the only type of virtual tour available. That leads to the next evolutionary leap – making things real and getting personal.
Multifamily Marketing Now
One of the biggest evolutions in real estate virtual tour software today is the move to authenticity and personalization. In other words, keeping the human connection alive. And that leads to personalized, pre-recorded videos and live virtual tours. Both styles are easy and effective. It just takes the right virtual tour software and little knowledge on how to make a virtual tour with an iPhone or an Android.
The best virtual tour software should include the ability:
- Pre-record videos
- Create a video library to store your video content
- Personalize the video experience (might we suggest a live tour or self-guided tour)
- Create a playlist of videos for an individual prospect
- Share your videos via email, social and other ILS
- Train leasing agents on all the platform’s capabilities
We aren’t all born knowing how to film these types of tours. Tours that check the boxes of realness, authenticity, and personalization are the ones that will ultimately be the best virtual tours for real estate. They allow the prospects to dictate how their tour experience goes while also allowing the leasing agent to keep the human-to-human element front and center.
It somewhat feels like a virtual tour for real estate have had a bit of a backward evolution. They’ve gone from high production value to less focus on the production value. That may seem odd until you look closer at what this evolution has brought to the virtual tour software industry. It is now much more focused on actual value to the prospective resident. Rather than seeing how fancy a video can be, the focus is on what the prospect WANTS to see – not what the community wants to show. That evolution is critical to the continued success of virtual touring and virtual leasing. As a company that has been, and continues to be, built for multifamily, we will remain a few steps ahead and ready to implement whatever evolution comes next.
Get In Touch!
Close more leases, market more effectively, engage with residents and, as always, keep it real. Do you have a question or suggestion? Or want to learn more about what you read? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!